I've deviated from the plans here and there on this build so it isn't clear why I followed the supplement that directed me to cover the model and the chines before joining the two. "Cut a slit into the hull and glue the rails" isn't what I'll do if given the chance to complete this task again. It would have be far easier to cover around the chines than making an accurate slit along the hull. All that said, it's behind me.
I doped the pushrods this afternoon and began covering the tail. This is my first experience covering with top flite econo cote. It's heavy and it shrinks too aggressively for my taste, but it's waterproof.
I'm using the old balsa stick pushrod trick to reduce weight. I'm also routing the pushrods out the top of the fuselage rather than on the sides, as the plan calls for. That seemed like an invitation for water entering the fuselage unnecessarily.
The plan supplement calls for rather short chines. I'm taking a cue from the folks who have done this before me and extending the chines from the step to the bow. I'm also tinkering with the idea of making them wider - although I have to weigh (ha!) the possible advantages of wider chines against the additional drag they'll produce in the water.
After selling my Tamiya Frog and assorted Grasshopper parts on eBay, I decided to build a rally car around Tamiya’s M04L Beetle. The paint scheme fell somewhere between my unfulfilled dream of owning a Sand Scorcher painted in the red and yellow alternate color scheme featured in the MRC print ads of the early 1980s, and the winners of the 1954 and 1962 East Africa Safari Rallies. I cut down a pair of Tamiya Rally Block tires, waterproofed the ESC and receiver, replaced the suspension with oil filled shocks and tuned springs, and made a few other changes. It was great fun to build and a blast to drive on and off road. I quickly followed up with a similarly treated M03 Mini.
That was in 2007, but both cars remain in good shape. Recently, my wife and kids took both cars to the Capital Crescent Trail, not far from our home. Here they are, cleaned up and ready to go again after a good romp through the woods.
I did eventually resume building on the Aqua Star, but after completing the right side of the wing I felt that it was rather heavy, by which I mean that it felt heavier in my hand than the fuselage and tail feathers. And this was without the heavy triangular block wingtips. Not trusting my hands I decided to weigh the items. The pictures speak for themselves.
The Dremel tool removed two grams from the wing, but I’d like to remove another two before completing the wingtips. I don’t imagine I’ll use the block wingtips that came with the kit, but rather I’ll angle a 1/16” balsa wingtip. I’m beginning to see how building this airplane stock would result in a fuselage that sits low in the water making it difficult to ROW.
Months ago I pulled a Bleriot-esque profile control line model from my father's garage. I'd made the airplane in high school, flown it a few times and forgotten about it. This past weekend I cleaned it off, fixed a few things, tested the engine and flew it at the local park - my first control line flight in more than 20 years. Next up will be the recently completed Pup.
I also finished my restoration of the Eastbourne last weekend and took it out for a few early morning flights. Like the Lil' Poke, the Eastbourne remains a favorite to fly.
Before getting back to the Aqua Star I've decided to build a Boxy Bipe from Bill Hannan plans. It ought to make a nice front yard flyer.
I flew the Lil' Poke earlier this evening and it is still a tremendously satisfying airplane to fly. The battery has to be placed a bit forward to compensate for the brushless motor's lower weight, but the overall flight characteristics remain phenomenal.
I have decided to replace the flying and landing wires on the Eastbourne. This will be the third set and after drilling out the second set I think it will be best to replace the blocks in the wings through which the wires pass. To do this properly, I'll have to strip the covering off the top of each wing. Fortunately, I have a pack of cream coverlite tucked away so recovering won't be an issue.
No progress to speak of on the Aqua Star, but the pleasant warm weather gave me chance to start painting the 1/2A Sopwith Pup. I also worked up a D size model rocket with parts from an Estes' designer's kit I received as a gift in middle school. The parts have been languishing in my father's garage for thirty years.
We also put successful first flights on the SemRoc Swift boost glider and Squadron Kites' Sopwith Camel kite this past week.
The Lil' Poke and Eastbourne Monoplane date back to 2004. Both airplanes have a substantial number of flying hours on them and I've decided to resurrect them for another flying season. The Lil' Poke was shelved when the brushed 280 motor stopped providing enough power to take off. Rather than replace it with another brushed motor, I'm installing a brushless motor. The Poke's brushed ESC was a C-10, which I'd coupled with device from FMA to adjust the cut off for lipo batteries. All that's been removed and replaced with a brushless ESC. Both airplanes have had their receivers swapped out for 2.4GHz versions for use with my current radio. The Eastbourne's receiver was a swanky FMA dual conversion M5.
I'll likely replace the flying and landing wires on the Eastbourne before putting it into the air.
Still plugging away at the Aqua Star fuselage and tail feathers, removing weight where I can. I decided to use 1/64" birch ply for the windshield rather than the plastic provided in the kit believing the ply will be easier to seal. I also skipped the hatch at the front believing it was for the purpose of accessing radio batteries. As I'm converting this airplane to electric, the hatch looked like potential leaky spot I could avoid.
The SemRoc Swift boost glider is complete and the Herr Aqua Star build is underway.
I've read enough about the Aqua Star to know that not everyone has success getting it to ROW. I'm hopeful that lightweight electronics, a brushless motor, and a few of the tips I picked up reading about other folk's experience with this airplane will help get mine in the air.
I applied a coat of dope to the Brigidier’s recently completed wing this afternoon. As soon as I work out a way to secure the battery hatch at the bottom of the fuselage, I’ll finish that bit of work and put the airplane away until spring.
I’ve not weighed the airplane yet, but I suspect I’m a good place. The airplane balances per the plan, which I confess looks a bit rearward to me (behind the wing spar), but I’ll trust the plan and take some solace in the additional upfront weight that will come with the battery and few ounces of glowfuel in the tank.
UPDATE: I made a battery hatch with a sewn hindge and applied another coat of dope to the wing before testing the engine and radio configuration. The engine and throttle operated perfecty. No modification was needed for the placement of the fuel tank. The first flight will come in the spring...